Monday, November 26, 2012

Life returns to normal (somewhat) in Grinnell in loss to William Penn

The hysteria and frenzy that came with Jack Taylor's simply incredible 138-point offensive explosion has lessened at Grinnell College, even if it hasn't completely gone away.

ESPN visited Iowa over the weekend to catch up with Jack and his parents, along with coach Dave Arseneault, and put together a really nice vignette that ran on SportsCenter late Sunday through early Monday. The TV crew was on hand for the Pioneers' first game following Taylor's record-setting performance, and it was treated to a great game -- even if the wrong team won.

Taylor was held to 21 points and William Penn's Brandon Beasley finished with 26 points and 17 rebonds as the Statesmen remained unbeaten this season with a 131-116 victory over Grinnell on Sunday. James Devlin added 17 points and Keith Steffeck had 16 points and 14 rebounds for William Penn (12-0), an NAIA member from just down Interstate 80 from Grinnell in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Back in the normal rotation and shifts, Taylor was 6-for-21 from the field, including 3-for-13 on 3-pointers, in 17 minutes of run. Teammate Griffin Lentsch led the way with 28 points despite shooting 10-for-35, 6-for-23 from the arc.

Aaron Levin, who missed all of last season with an injury, got off pretty well and scored 18 points, including four 3s.

The Statesmen led by as many as 15 points in the second half, and the margin still was 13 with 5:30 remaining on a layup by Devlin. But consecutive 3-pointers from Lentsch in the span of 45 seconds cut it to seven, and Grinnell appeared poised for a patented System comeback.

It wasn't to be. Levin's 3 later made it a nine-point game with about 3 minutes remaining before William Penn regained control and closed it out.

Pretty odd boxscore. The Pioneers exceeded all five of their goals in this game, which means they should win about 90 percent of the time. Here are The Formula numbers from this one:

-  Attempted 113 shots (goal is 94)
- Attempted 65 3-pointers (goal is 47)
- Rebounded 35 percent of their own misses (goal is 33 percent)
- Forced 36 turnovers (goal is 32)
- Attempted 33 more shots than William Penn (shot differential goal is 25)

So all in all, a pretty good effort for the good guys. A huge crowd of 1,711 turned out at Darby Gym to watch, which is about 1,000 more than normal. Nice to see people appreciating the program.

Grinnell opens play in the Midwest Conference on Wednesday, traveling to Knox. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST, and you know I'll be watching.


The Cardinals got their first road victory Saturday at Benedictine, using 17 points from Jenny Swanson to win 96-91. Swanson was 5-for-9 on 3-pointers.

Maryssa Cladis added 14 points, Emily Murphy had 11 and Kimberly Wilson finished with 10 for North Central College (2-2), where former Olivet Nazarene coach Doug Porter is helping head coach Michelle Roof install The System.

Along the way, the Cardinals put up some great numbers:

- Attempted 93 shots
- Attempted 60 3-pointers
- Rebounded 42 percent of their own misses
- Forced 33 turnovers
- Attempted 16 more shots than Benedictine

This was the second nice effort of the week for NCC. On Wednesday, unbeaten Monmouth rallied in the second half for a 98-87 victory. The Cardinals still had five players reach double figures: Amanda Hoye (13), Cladis (11), Murphy (11), Swanson (10) and Callin Rezin (10).

Monmouth led 92-85 with 1:40 remaining following a free throw by Swanson before closing the game on a modest 6-2 spurt.

It definitely appears the players at NCC are beginning to understand this style of play, and I wish them the best of luck the rest of the way. That begins Tuesday at Central College, with tip scheduled for 8 p.m.

The Tigers took their first loss of coach Lauren Stamatis' inaugural season, falling behind early and never really catchup up as Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Roosevelt ran away from ONU 112-96 on Saturday. Ashley Wilson had 17 points for the Tigers (4-1 overall and CCAC) and Miranda Geever and Taylor Haymes each added 14.

They did manage to get within seven midway through the second half on a steal and subsequent 3-pointer by Jessica Gerig before Roosevelt (7-1, 5-1) pulled away again.

Olivet Nazarene returns home Wednesday to host Trinity Christian College, with game time at McHie Arena set for 5:30 p.m. EST. Go get 'em!


The Prairie Fire had a tough week at home, averaging only 55.5 points in two losses. The first came Wednesday, when Marissa Pezzopane had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Augustana past Knox 83-56.

Shots just weren't falling for coach Emily Cline's team. The Prairie Fire were 17-for-86 (20 percent) overall and 6-for-44 (14 percent) on 3-pointers. Jodi Marver led the way with 17 points and Becky Duffy added 11. Kristin McDonald finished with 10 points.

On Saturday, Knox opened play in the Midwest Conference with a 79-55 loss to Lake Forest. Alycia Webster was the only player in double figures with with 12 points.

The Prairie Fire host Grinnell on Wednesday, as I've already mentioned, so fans will be treated to a double dose of The System. As much as I love Grinnell, I've got to go with the Knox women's team in this one. I wish Coach Cline and her team the best of luck.


Coach Andy Hoaglin's squad is fighting some inconsistency early, and I have no doubt that the Jets eventually will put together a run. They lost 106-90 on Wednesday to drop to 2-3 on the season.

No stats available for this one. Jackson CC returns to action Monday at home against Calvin College, and I hope this begins its run.


A huge shoutout to senior guard Jessica Lieber, who reached 1,000 career points in the Silver Streaks' 77-40 victory over Freeport on Saturday night in the Galesburg Thanksgiving Tournament. Lieber had five 3-pointers and scored 22 points, and Sharron Diggins added 19.

The Streaks (5-1) finished with 13 3s in the game.

Galesburg hosts Quincy on Thursday night to continue its season-opening, nine-game homestand. I'm rooting for the Streaks and coach Evan Massey.

After opening with two victories, the Cardinals lost to Marist 84-82 on Wednesday night, and coach Mike Curta reported that his team fouled way too much. Marist finished 36-for-50 at the line, just an insane amount of free throws in a 32-minute game.

Tyrone Terrell led Eisenhower with 23 points, Desmond Rembert added 13 and B.J. Bronaugh finished with 10. The Cardinals were 31-for-90 from the field and 11-for-54 on 3s, yet still only lost by two. Wow, got to love The System.

On Friday, Eisenhower dropped another close one, losing to Shepard 92-90. No official stats for this one.

Assuming I read the schedule correctly, the Cardinals don't play again until Friday, traveling to T.F. South. If they can get those foul problems under control, I think Coach Curta and his team could do some damage this season.

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